‘Like rush hour traffic inside electric wires.’
This past week our Creative Director Jarl Schulp caught up with FIBER Festival AV performer Microseq. Read on for reflections on David Lynch, the failure of our economy, and of course, the upcoming premiere of Microseq’s ‘False Awakenings’ (2015), May 16th at Radion.
Who is Microseq? Could you tell us a bit about your work and background?
Microseq is a concept I started developing in 2010 based on the idea that “…if there is anything interesting in composing, with or without computers, it is the opportunity to deal with abstract concepts while manipulating concrete material.” I don’t have any artistic or musical background. I approach music, sound and visuals from a designer’s perspective. I design abstract objects and the way they evolve over time.
On the 16th of May we present the premier of your new album and AV performance False Awakenings. What is the motivation and artistic concept behind the release?
A false awakening is a vivid and convincing dream about awakening from sleep, while the dreamer in reality continues to sleep. Each and every day I observe people responding to the challenges of our times, the failure of our economic and cultural system and the many ways individuals are trying overcome the crisis. It all seems to work out for a while until we find out we are on the wrong path again.
Could you describe the aesthetic choices involved in creating both a sonic and visual experience?
We need to distinguish False Awakenings as an album and its live audiovisual counterpart. The album focuses more on analytical listening where the live audiovisual act strives toward an intense physical experience. I chose to include in this album tracks that work together as well as standalone compositions. I’m aware of the fact that the album—after its official release on May 11—has a life of its own. The listener is invited to choose when, where and how they will listen to the work. Choices are made taking into account that tracks can be listened to again and again and that every time the listener will discover something new. During the live performance sound and visuals work together in an ephemeral manner. It is there for a moment but then that moment is gone.
You’re working with various types of algorithmic processes to create an audiovisual experience. Could you explain the influence of these processes on the creation and performance of your piece?
Computer-based compositional systems provide extended control over sound properties and aspects of musical structure, presenting the opportunity to merge those two into new musical forms. Having the opportunity to work with algorithms, I developed a system which allows me to focus on the form of a piece where the many details are being taken care of by the system itself. This allows me to create highly complex structures on the macro (form) as well as the micro (sound and visual properties) level of a composition with a high degree of precision without losing myself in the details.
‘Every technology represents a way of thinking. Mostly I’m inspired about the idea behind a technology rather than the technology itself.’
Are there any artists, designers or musicians who you have been inspired or influenced by?
I’m inspired and influenced by the online and offline creative (coding) community. Of course the work of some individual artists has a bigger impact than others, especially those whose work was for me a life-changing experience. I could mention the Japanese artist Rhyoichi Kurokawa as well as Herman Kolgen when it comes to aesthetics. On a theoretical level the writings and thought of composer Iannis Xenakis was a great inspiration while researching and developing my techniques. David Lynch’s approach to cinematography can hopefully be traced in my music as well. The photographic compositions of Marcel van der Vlugt and the use of material in the work of fashion designer Iris van Herpen I find to be influential and inspiring in shaping Microseq’s aesthetics.
And any technologies?
Every technology represents a way of thinking. Mostly I’m inspired about the idea behind a technology rather than the technology itself. That said, I try not to get attached to any medium, format or technology. I see those as a means to an end. I could of course mention Max/MSP & Jitter ecosystem as a playground of testing and developing ideas, but again those are just tools as much as pencil and paper are.
Finally, would it be possible to share a glimpse of what the audience can expect on May 16th?
It will be intense…like rush hour traffic inside electric wires. You will be immersed in a world of bass, light and colour. A blend of abstract rhythmical patterns, evolving ambient landscapes, detailed sound design and generative imagery.
Catch the premiere of Microseq’s AV Performance False Awakenings as part of FIBER Festival’s evening programme on Saturday 16 May at Radion.